With three days off between Habs games, we are all left with plenty of time to sit and think.
To think about the incredible six-game winning the streak the Habs are on. To think about the upcoming Saturday night matchup against the Leafs at the ACC. To think about the possibility of extending the winning streak to seven all while making sure not to take the Leafs lightly. To think about the Habs taking their second team picture of the year this morning and wondering who will sit in the "captain" spot, front and center.
But on a more immediate topic, I am thinking about the return of Marc-Andre Bergeron and Michael Cammalleri to the lineup.
Return of the MAB
News from practice this morning suggested that as Bergeron took the ice with his teammates, his return to the lineup should not be too far away. With no specific date yet mentioned, I think it is fair to assume that he is likely a handful of games away, at most.
While his booming shot is sorely missed from the powerplay, I am wondering where exactly he fits in the lineup now that the Habs have been winning without him. How do you dismantle, even a little bit, a lineup that has won six in a row and seven of their last eight?
Before he was injured, Bergeron was playing on the fourth line and on the power play. I personally think that this is exactly how he should be used given his misgivings as a defenseman. That being said, the fourth line has been a key contributing line over the Habs six-game streak.
When he returned from suspension, Maxim Lapierre took Ben Maxwell's spot on the fourth line so now that Bergeron's return is imminent, does he bump Lapierre—who's play has been weak of late—from the lineup? Does Mathieu Darche—who gives every ounce of himself on every shift—get pulled from the lineup to let MAB in?
It's hard to say what Coach Martin will do, but I think it is fair to assume that one of those two will get the hook. If Lapierre stays in the lineup over Darche, I believe it will only be out of respect for his tenure with the team. I also believe, however, that if this is the choice that Martin makes, Lapierre will be on a very short leash.
If, however, Martin decides to make his decision based on who is playing better and/or contributing more on the ice, then to me, it's a no-brainer to sit Lapierre.
The Talented Mr. Cammalleri
Then there's the topic of Mike Cammalleri. While it will be easy to reinsert him in the lineup by sending Tom Pyatt back to the minors and giving him his regular spot back on the top line, the question in his case is more of when he will return.
At the beginning of the week and end of last weekend, it was looking and sounding like Cammalleri would make his long heralded return this weekend in Toronto.
As of this morning, Cammy is still not skating with the team, which would seem to indicate that he is probably not as close to returning as we thought.
While I think it is fair to assume that he is not playing on Saturday in Toronto, there is no longer any clear indication of when he will return. Did he suffer a setback? Was he not as far along in his rehabilitation as they originally thought?
We'll have to wait till practice is over to get a better idea.
UPDATE: Looks like he is aiming to return Monday versus Ottawa. So not so bad after all!
Shamrocks and Shenanigans
With a St. Patrick's Day matchup between Chicago and Anaheim last night, people were acting the fool as if they had been partaking in the day's celebrations.
When Brent Seabrook took out Corey Perry behind the net, the Ducks' James Wisniewski thought he should exact his revenge a few shift later but charging at and completely obliterating Seabrook.
If you didn't see the play, take a look:
(the video is not working on BR.com. Goto http://www.habsaddict.com/2010/03/random-thoughts-marc-andre-bergeron.html to watch the video)
Is it me, or does there seem to be an epidemic of dirty hits this year and more so, recently?
While the hit on Seabrook was not of the "from behind" variety, it was still plenty dirty as Wisniewski didn't break stride and seemed to put his forearm right into Seabrook’s face/head.
With all of this going on, seemingly game after game, I think it will just continue to push the NHL to adopt their new headshot policy this season rather than next.
What do you all think? Bring in the new headshot policy this year or wait till next year, and why?
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